imagining heaven

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50 years ago (I’m the one with the crazy orange pants)

My father died a few months ago. Since his passing, I’ve felt closeness to him that I hadn’t felt in the last 6 months of his life…since he had stopped communicating with me, but I still struggled when I thought about his wife.

I hadn’t seen her in years (her choice) and we’d never had a friendly relationship, so I didn’t expect any communication with her after his death, but I guess I did expect that I would be named, as one of his children, in his obituary. I wasn’t, and neither were any of my siblings (my father’s children) or any of their, or my, children…no one on “our side” was mentioned by name.

When my stepmother’s daughter (whom I had never met) called me to say that my father had passed away and that there wouldn’t be a funeral, she did mention that there would be a memorial service this summer, adding that my father had meant so much to her family.

A few weeks ago, I had a dream about my father and his wife was there too. My father was very “background” in the dream, and I was fully engaged with his wife…and it was so loving and warm that I felt I was with my best friend. I felt love pouring from both of us toward each other. I woke up feeling that love as a lingering presence and thought, “You now have a new experience of J…” and you also have a choice; you can go back to the past with no good memories of your relationship with her or you can begin again in your mind.” At the time it was very clear what I wanted to do/think. I loved that dream so much and the feelings were so pure. How could I choose resentment or bitterness over that? But in the past few weeks, those feelings have faded and I can feel the old ones creep in again when I think about her…especially since my father had promised me a gift, in his will, when he passed, and it looks like that was changed sometime before he died.

So, here I am, being given the opportunity to choose forgiveness and understanding or resentment and disappointment. I choose the former, because I really do understand. I understand what if feels like to be possessed by fear, self-righteous anger, jealously and a firm resolve not to see another person’s point of view. I’ve lived that in my past and it is hell. I don’t choose forgiveness and understanding because I am a good or spiritual person. I choose it because I have the presence of mind to choose and because I want love inside of me. I want to remember that dream of loving communion and breath deeply the Truth of that. I also want to be forgiven for all of the times that I hurt others when I was too blind to my own pain to do anything else.

Even though my father cut me off at the end of his life, it has come to me that things worked the way they were supposed to. My father adored Jack, and if we had been communicating last summer, I’m sure I would’ve told him what had happened, and it would’ve broken his heart.

So today as I write, I feel lightness in my heart …like there is little laugh right at the edge of my consciousness that wants to burst out. I was going to say that I’m a little poorer (referring to being out of my father’s will) but I’m not poor at all. I have a sense of being OK deep inside…I am in heaven.

 

Of course! the path to heaven

doesn’t lie down in flat miles. It’s in the imagination
with which you perceive
this world,

and the gestures
with which you honor it.       Mary Oliver

 

 

 

 

nothing to fear

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Glinda

How do I know that if I reveal my true self I won’t be rejected? I don’t. I do know this though: if I feel rejected by others, it means that I am still harshly judging myself. In my last post, I finally talked about the 2 divorces that I’d been through. I’d always sensed that I wasn’t being up front about this part of my life and I justified it with reasons like, “The past is over and doesn’t need to be talked about now” or “What value would this be to anyone?” but these weak reasons were cover-ups. The real reasons for not wanting to talk about this part of my life experience were fear and embarrassment.

Many years ago, while I was still in my first marriage, I found out that an acquaintance of mine had been divorced. It was whispered about in those days. I remember sitting next to her at a basketball game (our sons were on the same team) thinking there must be something wrong with her. I was very moralistic about divorce. I was terrified of identifying with anyone who had gone through it. I knew that divorce was wrong, a failure, a sign of weakness…and I wanted to distance myself from it. I wanted to push it away with harsh judgment…I wanted it so badly.

The very idea that I wanted a divorce but couldn’t face this in myself made me really uncomfortable around anyone who had taken this step. When I finally did leave my first husband, I felt a great freedom. I knew it was right for me. This didn’t mean that I felt good about it or myself. I was riddled with guilt and shame. I believed I was a failure and a weak person for not “sticking it out”. I was sure that others were judging me for these reasons… and more.

Then the second marriage and second divorce…I really wanted to hide this. How anyone on a conscious spiritual path could be twice divorced was the question that I was sure most people would ask, or at the very least think… if they knew.

Almost from the beginning of this blog, I’d wanted to write about this part of my path, but the timing never seemed right and I was still afraid. When I wrote on Saturday, I realized that the fear of being judged for this was gone. I could still be misunderstood, but I didn’t feel any need to defend that part of my life…so out it came, along with the story of what’s been happening in my life over the past 8 months.

Saturday night, as Jack and I talked about letting “our secret” out, we both felt free in a new way. Last week our therapist had asked us what each of us wanted…such a great question. Such a tough question. We knew we wanted a life together but what else?

The following morning as we sat with our coffee I brought the question up again, but I didn’t try to get Jack to answer it (an old pattern), I simply asked it out loud of myself…and I didn’t try to answer it either. I just asked in an open way. I asked as if I expected an answer to come to me, but I wasn’t sure how or when. I asked the question, “What do I want?” as if it were a request…which it was. It was like lovingly whispering these words into the great divine ear.

Suddenly the answers came, and they surprised me. I told Jack that I needed space in the mornings to write (at that point, I hadn’t written in weeks) and asked him if he could be out of the house by 9 (Jack has the tendency to putter, and putter, and putter…those of you who know him, I’m sure can believe this) and not get going until late morning. I also said that I wanted the studio for my own. Jack met both requests very positively. He didn’t even hesitate….I could hardly believe it. I’d been trying to get him to clean out the studio for a couple of years, and it had always been a struggle. These answers seemed so right and so the flow that followed felt inspired. Within a day, the studio was cleared. Within 4 days, I was writing again.

In my previous post, I’d put up a quote about not knowing. The last sentence of that quote was,

“A tremendous power works for the man who meets a challenging problem with the honest admission, ‘I don’t know the answer.”

And the next sentences are,

“By turning his helplessness over to the power, he enables it to reveal the answer. It is like turning over the basic materials to a master rug-maker, knowing that he can take what we give and weave something far more beautiful than we could ever do.”*

What do I want? I want to be real. I want to be known. I need to be real and I need to be known. I no longer have anything to hide…no story of a “spiritual me” to protect or hold up, and it feels like heaven.

I want to thank you, actually, Jack and I want to thank you for the outpouring of loving emails and comments that we’ve received since the last post. We have been overwhelmed with love from this community and we are so grateful to you.

A question that’s been coming to me over the past few days is, “How can this being real, being ourselves, opening ourselves up to each other, letting go and getting free, be facilitated here on the White Feather Farm blog?”

No concrete answer has come but if it is meant to be…if it is for the higher good, the way will be shown….all thoughts are welcome!

 

*Page 22 Mystic Path to Cosmic Power by Vernon Howard.

I don’t know…and that is perfect

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me, 39.5 years ago

This past year has been a huge one for me. Usually, a lot happening in my life means that I write more often, but what I have been living has so intimately involved other people that I couldn’t share it here on the blog…the timing never seemed right. It is time.

For several years, Jack and I had been complacent about our marriage…to the point where we’d talked about splitting up. I wanted to move north to live closer to my son and his family, and Jack, although he didn’t specifically say this, wasn’t enthusiastic about the move. We floundered for a long time…not really together, not apart.

Last spring my oldest son, Tom, asked me what was going on with Jack and me. I couldn’t answer with anything but, “I’m not sure what Jack wants”. Fortunately for me, my sons do not accept my answers, when they have no depth, and he replied, “What do you want, Mom?” I couldn’t answer him. I wasn’t sure. I knew that I didn’t want things to continue as they were, but I also dreaded another divorce.

I’d been married twice before Jack. The first time I was 20 years old, and I knew it was a mistake…I did it anyway. After 17 years I got the courage to leave. My second marriage was very short-lived and happened right on the heels of the first ending. I met Jack less than a year after my second divorce in 2000.

So as I pondered my son’s question, “What do you want, Mom?” I felt at a loss. What I really wanted was a good marriage; a wonderful partnership with a man, but I feared that this wasn’t something I would or could have. I didn’t think I possessed the magical quality that made a good wife/partner.

I grew up in an unhappy home. My mother was highly critical of my father. I don’t remember her ever saying one nice thing about him. My father, although very friendly and social outside our home, was shut down emotionally, and escaped with alcohol and other women. The atmosphere of my childhood home was one of disappointment and anger, and deep down I believed that I was doomed to live out the same…change the man, change the town…it really wouldn’t matter. I sensed it was too late or maybe impossible for me to have the kind of life that I had wanted since I was a little girl.

I asked Jack for a divorce last summer. It just seemed like the logical thing to do. He said he didn’t want that, so I asked him what he wanted and he, just like me, couldn’t really say. In the meantime, I had begun to let Jack go. I even said to him, “I’m not sure what you want, or even if you should want what I do, but I am going to stop trying to change you or get you to line up with my dream.” I think he felt relief …and I didn’t blame him. I had been extremely critical and unsupportive, so me taking my attention off him, I’m sure felt good.

I began to walk miles a day. I lost some weight and also started doing yoga. I felt happier than I had in a long time. Jack and I weren’t any closer but it was OK with me…and apparently with him as well…we’d even stopped wearing our wedding rings.

Then in late July, I found out that another woman had come into Jack’s life. I discovered emails that they had exchanged and I knew that they had also met in person. I wrote about this last August on the blog, but never said specifically what the situation had been. I couldn’t write it at that point. When I found out, I was alone in our home. After talking with my son, Matt, and calming down enough to breath, I called Jack and said, “I know about H…. and I am leaving”.

He said, “That was the biggest mistake of my life. Please stay home. I’ll be right there.” 5 minutes later he walked in the door and asked me to stay, but I had such an eerie, cold, calm feeling happening inside me. I was cut off from life. I felt almost dead, and “in control” at the same time. I told him I was leaving and he was free to pursue that relationship. He said he didn’t want to, but I knew that he and I were over. I got in my car and drove to Tom’s house. My son Matt was also visiting at the time, so that evening, Tom, his wife Lindsay, Matt and I all sat around their living room and talked. They loved me at a time when I really needed it, but I was filled with a firm resolve to leave.

I went to bed that night but was unable to sleep at all. At some point I finally asked for help. I asked my higher self to show me the Truth of the situation and to show me my part. I asked to stay open and to not get hard. Then I saw it. I saw how I had become toward Jack the same person that my mother had been toward my father: cold, dismissive, unavailable, nagging, unsupportive. The revelation made me sob. And then, it broke. This hard shell that I had carried for most of my adult life broke off. I called my sister at 5 a.m. and told her everything including my revelation. I didn’t know what she would say but I knew she’d give me an answer from her heart, not her head. I told her that I wanted to go back to Jack. I wanted to tell him what I saw in myself and ask for forgiveness. I couldn’t believe this was how I felt. I’d always considered myself to be a proud person…to a fault, but here I was in the face of what seemed like a huge betrayal on his part, asking for his forgiveness? Yes.

I headed back home that morning not knowing if he’d be there or not, but I knew that I had to do it. I drove into the driveway and he was standing outside with open arms…and his wedding ring back on his finger. I went inside and put mine back on too.

We began again.

Today is April Fools Day. I’ve been writing for several hours and hope I can post today but I need to run it past Jack before I do. It has to be OK with him too. I hope it is because I think this story, our story, needs to be told.

So here is the “fool” part for me. I never wanted to be made a fool of. For so much of my life I feared not being taken seriously or looking bad. I feared the unknown. I feared getting hurt. I feared I was unloveable. I feared I couldn’t really love. I feared that in almost any situation I went into, I wouldn’t have enough information and I’d look like a fool. So when all of this happened, and I realized that I knew so little about being an intimate partner, or about my partner’s needs, I opened up and allowed myself to be taught. I knew that that I didn’t know what I was doing, but I wanted to grow….and I have.

After Jack and I got back together, I could not forget what I’d read in those emails…especially hers. At first the pain was so intense that I thought I’d burst, but as my heart opened more and more, I realized that she was teaching me…she said things to Jack that I never did…even when I thought them. I didn’t “copy” her, I just learned and realized what I hadn’t done by seeing/reading a living example of kind, supportive, communication. It was a blessing to have these words…not to my ego, of course, but that was OK. At times I felt humiliated but knew deep down, that I, the true me, wasn’t injured. I also sensed that this was all happening “for me” not “to me”… no matter how hard it was at times. I also knew that this situation had the potential for awakening all 3 of us.

Over the last 8 months, I’ve said a silent thank you, hundreds of times, for all that happened. Without it, I don’t know where I’d be today. Would this opening have occurred without the trauma? I don’t know, but if I could rewind time, I wouldn’t change a thing. Spirit did for me what I wouldn’t (or couldn’t) do for myself and I allowed the change. I allowed the “blow” to break me open, not harden my shell even more. I feel like a good wife and a good partner for the first time in my life. The situation changed Jack too…we are both more humble, more grateful, more in awe of how Spirit works in mysterious ways. We are learning how to love.

I just finished reading this to Jack. It is difficult to expose ourselves in this way, but we both agree that it is time. We’ve opened our hearts to each other, and now we open our lives and our hearts to you. Our wish is that you will find something in our story to help you open up, or stay open, too.

Much love,   Mary and Jack

“Our task is to dissolve the imaginary self and live from our real center of being. That is the only way to human health. But it is the sure cure. It is like removing a distorting blanket from a statue, enabling us to see its true form. I find the greatest single barrier to attaining this is man’s secret assumption that he already knows the answers to his problems. Bu we all sense this pretense. Millions of unhappy people make this false assumption, but do not see it, thus freezing their potentialities for happiness. A tremendous power works for the man who meets a challenging problem with the honest admission, ‘I don’t know the answer.'” 

page 22, The Mystic Path to Cosmic Power, by Vernon Howard

 

 

 

The journey of life…

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Eleanor resting

Several days ago as I was walking on a very rural road, I heard a door open…there were no houses around. As I continued along, I began to see red-tailed hawks, which I’ve always associated with my paternal grandmother, Maude. I returned home and noticed a male cardinal sitting in a tree near the entrance to our driveway, and the words, “Hi Dad” came out of my mouth. I’d never associated cardinals with my father before, and I hadn’t heard from him in months, so the words surprised me. Later that evening I found out that my father had passed away…probably while I was on my walk. After I made the necessary phone calls to family and went to bed, a deep feeling of relief and freedom came over me. I felt like I was flying and I could feel my father laughing and flying too. This feeling has stayed with me.

My father was 91 years old and for the past 6 months, he had cut off communication with everyone except his wife and her family, and since they didn’t communicate with us either, I felt somewhat in the dark. Around Christmas time, I finally made peace with the idea that I would not see him or talk with him again. This took a lot of focus on my part. My mind would keep saying things like, “How dare he keep me away after I’ve been so good to him!” or “Why doesn’t he want to see me? Did I do something wrong?” But I kept bringing myself back to the thought, “Even if I don’t understand this, at some level, it has to be right.”

After he died, I could see how his letting go of me last summer was really a blessing. It helped me to let go of my ideas about how things “should” be, and to not judge either him or myself for the way he chose to live and to die.

Over these past few days, I’ve felt closer to my father than ever before. All barriers to love are dissolved and what I sense now, when I think about him, is laughter, light, and a spirit of fun.

I realize that my experience of my father’s death is not everyone’s. Many people do feel deep grief, loss, sadness, or despair. But my experience is a valid one too, and one that many people feel uncomfortable expressing. Over the years, I’ve spoken to hundreds of people who have had a parent die and say that they feel guilty because they don’t feel bad.

That is the reason for my writing today. I truly do not need or want condolences. There is a Divine order to this life, this universe, that is beyond my conscious mind’s ability to understand. My father’s life here on earth, and his life now in the unseen realm, is a part of the mystery of being, and I am so happy that I was, and am, a part of that. As odd as it may have looked to others, as “dysfunctional” and disturbing as it could have been described, life as Bob Muncil’s daughter was a wild trip. Bon voyage, Dad!

Some of us think holding on makes us strong: but sometimes it is letting go.”            Hermann Hess

beginnings and an opening for sessions today*

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The happiest thoughts to you from me and my family for a magnificent 2017!

I love the energy of today…hours before the beginning of a new year…anything and everything seems possible. If you could choose a word or a phrase to represent the energy you’d like to step into for 2017, what would it be? I think for me it would be, “I am exactly where I am supposed to be.”

My wish for you is that you feel a deep sense of being in the right place and assurance that your life is perfect, even if in this moment it feels challenging. May blessings of all good be yours today and always. Love and happiness, Mary

 

*An opening happened in my schedule so today is free, and I’m offering 20 minute sessions for $20. If this is of interest to you, just email me at mmuncil@verizon.net and we’ll set up a time to talk.

This entry was posted on December 31, 2016. 6 Comments

reckless loving

 

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Jack brings home piles of antique books from the recycle center…he just cannot bear to see them thrown away… I just found a creative way to deal with some of them!

I was on an early morning walk yesterday, several miles from home, when I noticed a bird in the road. I assumed that it had been hit by a car, so I wanted to pick it up and lay it gently under a tree, but as I got closer, this gorgeous red-headed woodpecker turned its head and looked at me. “You are alive!”, were the words that came out of my mouth as I reached down with mittened hands to pick him*up.

I began to walk home, but decided to stop at the nearest house and ask for a ride. The man who answered the door was so kind. Before I could even ask, he was grabbing his jacket and car keys. As I approached our front door, Jack was standing in his robe, looking rather concerned as he said, “What can I do?”

We’d just taken our Christmas ornaments out of the boxes and set them aside, still full of fluffy tissue paper…perfect as a temporary place to put our feathered friend while I went to my computer to look for help. The first site that came up was North Country Wild Care (http://www.northcountrywildcare.org). The woman who answered the phone gave me the number of a local vet who usually takes wild animals/birds for evaluation. She told me to call them but added if they couldn’t take him, to call her right back and she would figure something else out. I don’t know what I expected but I was overwhelmed with gratitude that this woman cared so much and wasn’t going to drop us. The vet’s office said that they would take him, and told me to bring him right in.

Jack and I gently closed up the box and put it on the front seat of my car, but as I drove to the vet’s office, the bird became agaiated, moving inside the box in a way that concerned me. I thought that classical music might be soothing but couldn’t find a station, so I began to sing Christmas carols. To my delight, the scratching stopped.

After a brief evaluation, the vet tech told me that she thought the woodpecker would be OK. They were going to do a complete examination and if he couldn’t be released into the wild, they would call North Country Wild Care and a wildlife rehab specialist would pick him up.

Back in my car I sat for a minute and let myself soak in all that had happened in the past hour. The love and care that we (the little injured bird and myself) were shown was overwhelming. From the moment I picked him up from the road, to handing him over at the vet’s office, it was as if we were floating on a ribbon of Grace. Loving help was there at every turn…for me, for him…

When we talked later that evening, Jack said, “I’m not sure that I would’ve known what to do if I’d come across a bird like that. How did you know what to do?”

“I didn’t”. I replied, “I just knew that I wasn’t going to leave him in the road so I picked him up. Then I began to walk. It was as if “instructions” were given to me at every step.”

This incident made me think about the unconditional love that was shown by so many people in the helping of this little injured creature. Selfless, generous, love, by the vet, the wildlife rescue center, the man who gave me a ride, Jack…and even me. It also made me think about how I love others.

This year has been an eye-opener for me…many incredible gifts and also some painful realizations…the most significant being that I had not been generous with my love…especially at home. As I examined my life, I could see that I’d been stingy, cautious, and calculating with my affection: withholding it if I felt slighted, or sensed it wasn’t being returned in an equal or greater measure.

But that changed this year, and even though I know that spiritually I’ve stepped into a new world, it has at times been terrifying. I’ve become acutely aware of my fear of being hurt, or taken advantage of, or being made a fool for trusting. And when those fears come up, it feels like there is a battle for my soul happening within. I can feel that old frightened self say, “Cut and run” and the voice of Love say, “All is well. You can trust life. You can trust love. I am here with you each step of the way and you are now on new ground. Leave the past behind and live fully now.”

A friend sent me the quote below yesterday, and I felt like it spoke directly to my life, my heart, my situation in life. I just love the words, “Love is reckless ….” Reckless! Just reading those words makes me feel braver. I no longer want to weigh and measure my giving. I want to be reckless in my loving. I want to be oblivious to what I get in return. I want to love for the sake of loving.  I want to give all of me to all of life. WIthholding ourselves may feel safe but it isn’t. Eventually, a “safe” life becomes small, steril, joyless, and unbearable.

The call to myself this day, this year, this holiday season, is to love everything and everyone. To forgive everything and everyone. To give everything ,and to become a reckless fool for Love.

Fear and love are contradictory terms. Love is reckless in giving away, oblivious as to what it gets in return. Love wrestles with the world as with the self and ultimately gains mastery over all other feelings….” Mahatma Gandhi (On Love)

*I’m not sure what sex the woodpecker was.

Write a new script and change your life…and a give-away!

 

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Fred this morning watching me write

Several weeks ago, I was looking for a blank notebook and found a dream that I’d written down a couple of years earlier, along with some letters I’d written (not intending to send) to various individuals whom I’d had problems with. Below is what I wrote about the dream,

“I entered a beautiful room, after being in a bunch of situations that seemed somewhat disconcerting. At once I noticed that the room was made entirely of puzzle pieces. I was told not to take any pieces out. I noticed a man, who was also a puzzle piece with writing on it, and I held it in my hands, amazed at how intricately and beautifully it was made. Each piece was also beautifully and exquisitely made and came to life as I touched them.” Then I woke up. Re-reading this dream affirmed my belief that no person is in my life by accident, and everyone who is now, or has ever been in my life, is a vital part of me in some way.

All of the letters were written for the purpose of healing the relationships and bringing me inner peace and resolution. In these letters I was able to say things that I couldn’t say in person without causing more pain or confusion. I didn’t write about how I had been hurt or what they had done to me. I wrote about my part in the difficulty. I wrote about the petty, mean, hurtful, thoughts I’d had about them, and asked for their forgiveness.

As I thought about the dream and the letters, I realized in a deeper way that we are all connected, and since this is a Truth, we have the power to change/heal our lives using our minds…and I was holding the proof in my hands. All of the letters that I’d written had resulted in either reconciliation with the person or release of the resentment I’d been carrying, and all of this happened without confrontation or needing to talk it out.

I’d forgotten about this tool, and today realized that I really need to do it again with several people whom I have been harboring less-than-nice thoughts about. It is time to sweep my side of the street…even though there really isn’t a “my side” and “their side”…it is all my side. I clear up my thoughts and find that I am transformed and restored to wholeness in what feels like a miraculous way.

 Save yourself…” Jacob Marley’s last words to Ebenezer Scrooge in Dickens, A Christmas Carol.

THE GIVE-AWAY!

I am giving away a 20 minute session with me. To enter this give-away all you need to do is comment with a word or a thought that brings you a sense of inner peace. Feel free to tell a story or just post one word. Everyone (even if you’ve won before) is free to enter. I’ll select a random entry on Thursday, Dec. 1st. To read about what a session with me is like, go to my home page, and click the tab at the top that says, Private Sessions

NORTHSHIRE BOOKSTORE CAFE GALLERY From December 1st through the 30th, I’ll have my artwork for sale at the Northshire Bookstore Cafe Gallery inn Manchester, VT. Feel free to email me if you have any questions. mmuncil@verizon.net

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“Freedom to choose my direction” about 7.5 x 7.5 x 2″ on very old wood, $95 (all of my artwork will be at the Northshire Bookstore Cafe Gallery on Dec. 1st, but can also  be purchased now…visit *MY ARTWORK Page to see more